Dealing with the Syndicate's HQ in Shallamas

Summary: The party meets Tasna, a glaive who also does work for Petra and she joins the group. Interestingly she says she knew Bumble in his past before the amnesia but Bumble does not remember her at all. They all then break into the Syndicate’s HQ and although everyone else is asleep they are greeted by one syndicate agent with psychic and telekinetic powers who had resisted the powerful sleep cypher the party unleashed. He raises sleeping syndicate agents into a zombie-like sleepwalk state and attacks the party. They battle and slay him and loot the Syndicate base, most notably finding a document that indicates that Cook’s parents have been sent to the Scorpion Sanctum to be subjects in some Syndicate project.

Alansari frees Petra and fills him in on the party’s exploits. Petra thanks the party for their bravery and says that now that he is free he will work to undo the damage that the Syndicate caused by impersonating his communications and sabotaging the Order’s work. Petra rewards the party with several cyphers and an artifact called the fearmaker that the woodsman claims. The slave woman weeps over the unconscious body of her brother (the other slave) who is not recovering, so the woodsman works some of his forest medicine on him and brings him back to hale. She thanks the party for slaying Brizon and apologizes for her aid to their enemies earlier. Petra then suggests that it would be a good opportunity to strike at the Syndicate’s headquarters in the city since everyone there should be unconscious because of the massive sleep cypher that they set off.

In this time a glaive mercenary named Tasna who had been working for Petra on a different assignment shows up to report in. Petra trusts this agent so they introduce themselves and fill her in on the situation. Tasna has a grudge against the Syndicate as well and is happy to join up with the party on their mission. Tasna also mentions that she knows Bumble from her time as an unwilling participant in Syndicate experiments. Bumble was known to her as Geronf and he was a menial servant for the Syndicate. She knew that he had stolen things from the Syndicate and they also worked together to steal notes from the head scientist which Tasna took with her when she faked her own death and escaped. She is surprised to see Bumble here with new mods, nano powers, and with no memory of his former life. After these introductions are over the party sets off to investigate the Syndicate headquarters.

A pair of city guards hassle the party and tell them everyone is to stay in their homes until this curse is lifted. Gore lies and says they are headed to their house and they easily believe him and allow them to go. At the Syndicate HQ they find the front doors locked so Gerard phases through and unlocks it. As they begin to look around a Syndicate agent with incredible mind powers steps out onto the balcony of the room and says that he had resisted the effects of the sleep cypher with his powerful mind and that he will now kill them for trespassing. The telepath uses his power to raise the sleeping clerks and other workers in the office as sleepwalking zombies to attack the party. He also begins to use telekinesis to hurl desks at the party. Cook and Tasna step forward and begin to cut down the throng of zombies. Others of the party hurl projectiles at the telepath but only Gore lands a small hit with his buzzer blade. Some of the party decide to storm the balcony and scale the gated barriers in the way of the stairs to reach the telepath. Gerard uses an electroshock flashbang to destroy most of the rest of the zombies on the main floor. As the party closes in on him the telepath summons up a strong telekinetic wave shattering the large windows in the room and flinging the shards around the room cutting even the most nimble of the party. Bumble retreats outside the building being extremely hurt from the glass shards and being struck by a large desk earlier.

Tasna is the first up the stairs and the telepath hits her with a powerful mental onslaught. Tasna pushes onward and lands a hit on the telepath despite his strong telekinetic protections and wounds him grievously. Gore tumbled down the stairs in the storm of glass but gets back up and joins Tasna in the attack but the telepath’s telekinetic bubble is difficult to pierce and no other attacks land. The woodsman quickly tends to Bumble’s wounds outside bandaging his lacerations from the glass allowing Bumble to rally. The telepath had begun to retreat because of the first wound from Tasna, but Bumble reenters the room and lets off a final shot with his phase cannon aided by his targeting oculus cypher and lands a killing blow before the telepath can make it more than a few feet out the door from the balcony. The zombies fall down sleeping again and the party finishes off the rest of the Syndicate employees while they sleep.

The party then proceeds to loot the upstairs offices of any important looking documents. Most notably they locate a document containing the names of Cook’s parents. It appears that Cook’s parents have been taken to some place called the Scorpion Sanctum as subjects in some project the Syndicate is performing. Gore also finds another Syndicate mask and takes his clothing as well. In the back of the building the party finds a large vault which Gerard phases through and opens. Inside there is a secondary protection of an energy shield, but Bumble communicates with the device to deactivate it. The party then begin to loot all the small compartments in the vault finding shins, cyphers, oddities, and an assortment of papers and other junk.

Battle to Save Petra

Summary: The party battles and defeats Brizon and other syndicate agents to save High Priest Petra.

After a short rest the woodsman sneaks up the stairs and peaks into the next room. Inside Petra’s office he sees Brizon lounging in Petra’s desk chair with a glass of wine. A tube running from inside Brizon’s robes connects to a pale and sickly looking man in a slave collar. There is also a slave woman sitting on the steps to the next level and a murden crouched in the corner. The woodsman relays this information to the group and as Brizon notices them Cook rushes in with his biomech leg cypher and throws a coruscating bubble bomb blinding Brizon. Brizon reacts by activating a mirror image cypher and backing away from the flashing swarm of bubbles. The party rushes in to attack. Brizon blindly uses another cypher creating a wall of flames cutting the room in half. Gore attacks the murden but is poisoned in the effort, but the woodsman stems the progress of the poison with a hasty concoction. Cook rushes in to slay the murden with deft sweeps of his forearm blades. Alansari also finally got up the nerve to help and attempted to subdue the slave woman, but she sliped away running in terror up to the upper level. Alansari gives chase and sees her alert two other murdens and a shadowling that activates her cloaking suit. He also sees a badly injuryed Petra tied to a chair in his bed chamber. Alansair runs back down the stairs to warn the party of the reinforcements.

In the meantime Bumble has been using his cypher enchanted vision to pelt Brizon with phased energy slugs. Cook attempts to subdue Brizon, but Brizon pulls the slave connected to him with the tube in between them and Cook accidentally strikes the slave to unconsciousness. Brizon continues to retreat across the room disconnecting the tube from his abdomen with a spray of fluid. With a final shot Bumble strikes Brizon again, but he hurls himself out the window. Cook turns to face the two new incoming murden and takes them both down quickly with dual slashes of his blades. Gerard looks out the window to see Brizon’s ragged form floating gently down from the tower trying to make an escape. Throwing a couple energy sphere after Brizon’s body he manages to strike him blowing his body to bloody bits with only a dismembered arm still floating lightly down towards the ground.

While Gerard finishes off Brizon other party members build a small fire at the base of the stairs with murden corpses and other fodder set alight by the flame wall. Wisely the woodsman readies a shot and embeds an arrow into the invisible shadowling as she leaps through the smoke wall created by the small fire becoming briefly revealed. The arrow sinks deep and blood soaks a patch of the shadowling’s suit making her a slightly easier target but the party still struggles to land more hits against the nimble obscured form. With a stroke of ingenuity Alansari shatter a wine carafe covering the shadowling in spots of dark wine. With this aid the party is able to zero in on the elusive target and Bumble lands the killing blow with another phased slug.

With the threats dealt with Alansari rushes to free Petra and the party rejoices as they have successfully thwarted a clandestine power grab by the Syndicate.

Return to Shallamas: Mounting a Rescue

Summary: The party returns to Shallamas to give Petra the recovered skyfall and get their reward. They find Petra is held prisoner by the Syndicate in the Aeon Church and mount a rescue.
After leaving Lyra with the second repaired skyfall they return Nona to her village and then journey back to Shallamas. On the journey there Gore finishes fashioning the parts of the stargate into a teleportation cypher which will be the basis of his portal gun. Bumble has been working on communicating with the small nano-sprite swarm that began following him after the weather oracle’s shrine was freed of its infection. The swarm has begun responding to him, giving him updates of the temperature, humidity, etc and forming shapes at his command.

Since the Shallamas guard tried to arrest them when they were last in the city they hide the trogdor and the chocobos in a stand of trees and Gore and the woodsman sneak into the city by climbing over the wall. Inside the city they make their way to the Church of the Aeons where they find the entrance locked and guarded by two paladins, elite troops of the Order of Truth. Alansari is nearby and he informs them that the church is on lock down with Petra inside. Strange orders in Petra’s name have been issued sending loyal priests away on errands and doing things not in the best interest of the Order of Truth. Zorian, the priest in charge shrine of the ancients is taking control with Petra’s withdrawal. Alansari says there are Syndicate agents inside the church and he thinks Petra is a prisoner. The three rent a room at a nearby inn and they send Alansari to sneak the other three members of the party back into the city.

Meanwhile the rest of the party has run into Durzak the merchant and he sells them a cypher along with some parts that Gerard buys so that Gore can finish his portal gun. Alansari finds them and sneaks them into the city on a cart so that they can all meet up at the inn. They all rest and recover at the inn and Gore completes his prototype portal gun. In the morning they decide they will user Gerard’s neural disruptor cypher to knock out the whole population of the church so they can get in to see Petra. So as not to knock themselves out as well Gore fashions a remote activator for the cypher and they move to the outskirts of the city to a tavern where they activate the cypher and put everyone in the middle of the city to sleep with a giant wave of blue energy.

They make their way back to the church finding everyone along the way fast asleep. The paladins at the gate of the church are knocked out so the party kills one and feeds him the protoblood reviving him as a zombie to guard the gate. Inside they find syndicate agents all fast asleep and they slay them all as they make their way up to Petra’s chambers. They reach a laboratory on an upper level of the tower just below Petra’s quarters. The disruptor blast appears not to have reached up this far because there are 4 guards present who attack the party. They engage in a skirmish with the thugs while causing some mayhem by accidentally spilling chemicals and creating slick conditions, an obscuring cloud, and even a gelatinous monster. The party bests the four guards and the gelatinous creature in the battle and interrogate the final member of the syndicate guard before killing him. The last guard reveals that Petra is held captive by a high level syndicate agent known as Brizon who has a dead black eye that “sees everything” along with a couple of murden. The mudren’s “mental static” inhibits Petra’s psychic esoteries making him easy to contain. The party rest a moment and prepares for a big showdown with Brizon to rescue Petra.

The Second Skyfall

Summary: Genesta asks Gerard to speak to his aunt, the Countess, on behalf of the oppressed people of the Dark Hills. The party cannibalizes a stargate so Gore can start work on his portal gun. They then travel to the site of the next skyfall and after obtaining the aid of an old woman named Nona with a photographic memory they hunt down the two halves of the skyfall. One half is burning hot and the other is icy cold. The icy one already has a claim on it by the city of Bodrov. The party cons their way into obtaining the the icy artifact and combines the two which cancels the temperature extremes. They end up surrendering the complete artifact when Lyra, ranking aeon priest of Bodrov, challenges them over it. But they succeed in getting on her good side and for their help they have thanks and likely a reward waiting for them in Bodrov when they speak to Countess Tymora.
After a rest in the city of the hive mind the party sets out with Bumble driving the Trogdor back to the large power core they are trying to collect. Waiting at the power core are Skrzypek the enchanter and Genesta, the purple skinned freedom fighter of the Dark Hills. Skryzpek tells them that the nanosprites have brought him messages from the gods. They tell him that there is a stargate nearby that they party might be interested in and they also whispered to him that Gerard is of noble blood and nephew to the Countess of Bodrov.

The enchanter relayed Gerard’s pedigree to Genesta and she has a request for him the next time he is in Bodrov. She wants Gerard to convince his aunt to allow people of the Dark Hills to move back into the abandoned city of Thrax at the edge of the Dark Hills. Thrax was attacked by troops when they refused to pay taxes and tried to assert their independence from Navarene. If Countess Tymora would consent to allow willing people of the Dark Hills to re-establish a community here to escape the oppression of Lord Atto of Dross she could simultaneously disrupt the Lord of Dross’ consolidation of power over the Dark Hills and gain new citizens and tax revenue in her county. Genesta gives Gerard sexy eyes to try to encourage him to help.

They collect the power core with the Trogdor’s beefy arms and from here they journey to the Stargate in the Dark Hills where Gore successfully harvests parts that put him well on his way to building the portal gun idea he has been working on. After this they set off towards the direction of another skyfall which is marked just southeast of Bodrov on their map. Near the approximate touchdown site they enter a forest of strange translucent columns of synth with shiny metallic leaves spreading out just at the very top. The party finds lumberjacks harvesting theses “trees” and asks them about the skyfall. They direct the party to their small village where an old spinster reported having seen bright streaks of light fall from the sky a few days ago. The party follows their directions to the old woman’s shack.

Knocking on the door of the shack they find the Nona unkempt and dirty with a faraway look in her eyes. Gore buys a spool of her thread and the Gerard tries to sweet talk the information about the skyfalls out of her. She shrugs off Gerard’s apparent sexual advance and reveals the only sexual companionship she needs is her perfectly photographic memory of her time with a handsome young man when she was also young and beautiful. She admits to seeing where they skyfalls came down, but only agrees to spend the time guiding them there is they can give her another interesting experience she can relive over and over in her mind to pass away the boring hours of her old life spinning thread. The party accepts the challenge and constructs a “Ninja Warrior” style obstacle course and utilize the influence of the “cat’s grace” potion that the woodsman ingested earlier to allow him to put on a spectacular show. Sufficiently amused Nona agrees to guide the party to the skyfall in the fading light.

The skyfall actually split into two bits when it fell and they arrive at the first only to find it radiating an intense heat and are unable to successfully collect it. Upon checking out the second one they find 3 guards from Bodrov around the crater and a young aeon priest named Donnie trying unsuccessfully to collect the artifact which is intensely cold and covers the ground around it in hoar frost. They convince Donnie that since Gerard is the nephew of the Countess and they have a writ from High Priest Petra empowering them to collect the skyfalls they should be allowed to take it. They use the Trogdor to collect the artifact, but since it freezes to its arm they have to leave their powercore behind while they take the artifact back to join it with its other half. Bumble is able to rejoin the halves which cancels out both temperature extremes. It is dark by this time, but the party pushes onward to get back to their powercore. Bumble stumbles into a sinkhole with the Trodgor and the party is forced to spend many hours and a couple cyphers to see in the dark and make a winch to drag the Trogdor out of the hole.

By the time they get back to the powercore they find more guards and Lyra, Countess Tymora’s senior advisor and the ranking aeon priest of Bodrov waiting there for their return. She demands they return the artifact because they had full salvage rights to it. The party finally decides to give her the whole reformed artifact and play it off like they had just been trying to help the whole time and that Donnie had been obstructing them from doing so. Lyra buys their story and scolds the acolyte for his incompetence and obstruction. She invites them to see the Countess when they are in Bodrov to be thanked for their help with the recovery and possibly receive a reward. The party collects the powercore and beds down for the night before they set out for Shallamas in the morning to present the powercore to Petra and receive their reward.

City of the Hivemind

Summary: The party arrives at the city of the dirt children’s parents where all the adults are part of a hivemind. The party frees the hivemind from oppressive control of one man inhabiting all the minds of the population and restores full power to the whole city preserving and enhancing their way of life. The city happily grants the use of the trogdor to the party as thanks.
The party arrives at the city of the dirt children’s parents after their Mad Max: Fury Road style battle over the desert plain. The city is hidden within the dark glassy hills to the south and is the remnants of an ancient city. In the center of the city is a ruined spire that is wreathed with a strange green flame. They are met by one of the adult citizens who is serving as an emissary of the “One”, the hive mind that all the adults are a part of. The emissary thanks the party for the return of the children and agrees to let them use the Trogdor. Since Bumble has not figured out how to fully control the Trogdor yet he stays to work on that and the emissary escorts the party to a place to rest. Gerard reads the hive mind and feels an overwhelming singular consciousness within the mind of the citizens. The party is escorted to a structure and given food, water, and a place to rest. The party wants to investigate so slips out without their attendants noticing. While they are sneaking around the city the citizens all fall unconscious at the same time, which the children had mentioned the adults were doing more and more, and the tower in the center of the ruins burns with a duller bluish flame. They investigates a large domed structure within the city and they find a man in stasis who they figure out is the consciousness controlling the hive. They sever the man from the hive and journey out to flaming spire.

They gain access to the spire and climb up to the top to find two beams colliding that create the fire around the structure, but one beam is flickering erratically. Down within the bowels of the structure they find two cylinders from which the beams originate. There are rainbow spheres within the cylinders and in one cylinder a few are broken. They remove the spheres completely cutting the power and attempt to leave but find they are unable to activate the doors without power. The try to figure out how to fix the power with the working spheres and finally after struggling for awhile with the puzzle Gore just repairs one of the spheres and the power is restored with both beams going strongly and the fire around the tower turns to a reddish color. They send Gerard to phase back through the door of the structure to remove the spheres again to cut power, for some reason. Back in the city all the citizens have been awakened into a state of individual consciousness. They said that after the controlling consciousness was removed they were in a collective hive mind that they liked because they were accustomed to the collective consciousness and they feel helpless and alone without it. The party decides to return the full power to the spire so the city can return to the collective hivemind. Bumble has gained control of the Trogdor by this time so the party can leave. Bumble also informs them that the Trogdor needed to charge from the spire so it is fully charged now that the spire is at full power, but will deplete eventually away from the city. After accepting some cyphers and other gifts the grateful citizens offer them they set off to collect the giant power core with the Trogdor.

Fury Road Battle on a Trogdor

After waking the next day the party speaks to a group of dirty children who have mysteriuos showed up recenlty at the commune riding a metal creature like a brontosaurus with many legs and two beefy arms. A girl named Wist who looks about 16 but speaks like a small child tells them that their village is in trouble. The party agrees to help the group and they all mount up on the “Trogdor”, which is controlled mentally by a young boy called Cup.

They encounter Wendigos in an area covered in unnatural darkness. In a fury road style battle they fight the Wendigos and defend the Trogdor and the children. Bumble syncs with the Trogdor as well and gains control of the arms and tail. After some practice he is able to use the arms to grab and crush a Wendigo and drop it under the many feet. Cook’s blade is stuck in a enemy he slays and he falls off but is able to expertly recover and rejoin the party. Bumble uses the tail to slap and finish off the last few following attackers and they outpace the remaining wendigos and emerge past the unnatural darkness.

They round some mountains of black glass and arrive at the outskirts of the city the dirt children originate from. In the distance past the city they can see a tall tower burning with green fire.

Liberating the Weather Oracle

After securing the power core the party follows Skrzypek to his place. He gives them a few gifts including a long red coat which grants some fire resistance for Cook.

Following Skrzypek’s directions they journey to find a “shrine” where the source of the sand creatures and the weather anomalies may be found. Along the way they encounter an anarcho-syndicalist commune living at the edges of the influence of the domain of Lord Atto, the baron of the city of Dross.

From there they finally make their way to the “shrine” and enter. They find black metallic tendrils with orange and green veins growing around on the ancient structure. The weather oracle calls out in Bumble’s mind again with requests for repairs.

The party encounter a barrier of blue electric tentacles that are also blocking the way and also seem to be fending off the black tendrils. Party plans to cut through them, but Bumble finds a pool of liquid that when he touches it he can interact with the system and retract the blue tentacles.

Further on in the complex they find a control center for the weather oracle that the black tendrils are invading and trying to control while blue electrified tentacles fight them off.

Following another passage from that room they and find a big black metallic blob flashing with orange electric inside on the ceiling that is is the source of the tendrils. A crackling electric voice offers to let them have the power core and to stop the storms if they will deactivate the oracle in the other room and let it have complete control. The party makes a decision to aide the oracle over the invading entity and engage in a grueling battle with it. Junior almost dies and runs from the room only to hears the sandmen approaching through the passageway. The party destroys the entity just before the reinforcements arrive. Junior may now have some PTSD from nearly dying so many times.

The oracle regains control and stabilizes the weather in the area around the “Shrine”. A blue glowing mass of nanites begins to follow Bumble. The party returns to the commune they were at previously and rest for the night.

Adventuring in the Dark Hills

After a restful night the party sets off and travels for another whole day uneventfully. The road passes through mostly wilderness, but there are scattered farmsteads and towns as well as the constant smattering of ruins from past aeons. Some ancient structures are hidden beneath plants, rocks, and dirt; others are prominent with silvery spires that can be seen for miles or floating monoliths that serve as reference points for a hundred miles around them. The party finally camps for the night beneath the light of the green full moon and the various other skylights that either dance quickly around the sky or journey so slowly they seem static.

Waking with the sun they set out turning southwest towards the Dark Hills down a very sparsely traveled path. The Dark Hills are known as a barren wasteland with few people and many dangers including frequent and fierce iron wind storms. As they draw closer the black oily drit for which the region is named is lightly coated, but it begins to make plant life more sparse. To the right up ahead are what appears to be the remnants of a town. In the distance the increasingly barren black hills roll ahead for many miles before large formations of obsidian and glass of dark purple and black completely obscure the horizon. The skyfall should be this side of the obsidian and glass mountains and in this general direction. They should hurry if they want to lay claim to it and the other skyfalls before other scavengers or explorers who might be searching them out as well.

The party first climb on a hill and survey the area. They see a settlement in the distance and get a better look at the ruined town. They briefly explore the ruined town (which they will learn was called Thrax) before setting out for the structures they can see ahead. Bumble gets a warning from a “weather oracle” that warns of severe atmospheric conditions in the area.

The next group of structures they come upon the shanty town of Bandish. Outside the town they talk to a drit farmer scrabbling in the drit looking for shiny things who says he used to live in Thrax and explains how the Lord of Dross and the Mayor of Bandish are oppressing the people here.

They enter the shanty town and go to a silver bubble in the center of town. Inside the bubble they find Amel, a giantess who is mayor of the town. She greets them warmly and welcomes them to her city. Gerard tries to parlay with her but she blows him off because he is so small. Goredard explains they are just passing through and looking for some shelter. She shows them to a hovel they can stay in. They investigate the town a little more not wanting to leave because of an impending storm. Bumble uses his breather symbiote and dives to the bottom of the lake adjacent to the town. At the bottom he finds a cypher and a few shins. They wait around a bit longer and Bumble gets another weather warning. The storm picks up around them and the group abandons the hovel they are in, take their chocobos and break into Amel’s silver bubble house with Bumble’s remote activation ability. Gore negotiates for their shelter in the dome with the addition of a bribe of 25 shins. The party rides out the storm safely inside and bide their time. Bumble practices his meditation and hears the chaotic “voices” of the iron wind, Gerard studies the language in his monocle, the woodsman carves some bones, Cook works on fashioning a vest from ravage bear skin, and Gore works on some of his tech crafting. After the storm passes they leave the dome and sleep for the night.

The next day they survey the devastation of the iron wind and speak to a peasant and ask if they noticed the skyfall days ago. He says issues of the heavens and such are not his concern and are matters for magicians and enchanters. They ask if he knows of any such people and he directs them to a man named Skrzypek who might be found in the glass woods a few hours away. They proceed to the glass woods and encounter a trap which activates 6 flying blades. They take down the blades with some help from Bumble’s deactivation ability. After surviving the trap a purple woman (named Genesta) in a stygian green cloak calls out and ask what their business is here and if they are agents of the Lord of Dross come to destroy them. They assure her they are not on the side of the Lord and they are searching for something fallen from the sky. She takes them to Skrzypek who has a helmet with metal horns and a staff he uses to blast fire. He claims to be a sorcerer gaining his power from the gods and finds it very invigorating to blow things up. He is found near a crater made by a large glowing sphere which they determine is a power source. While they are investigating it sandworms grasp the core. Skrzypek tries to burn them but more sand worms suddenly attack entangle the sorcerer and Cook. The worms draw power from the core and use it to summon sandmen to fight and generate more sandworms to bolster their number. Gore uses a cypher to create an electromagnetic shield around the core which does a great deal to stop the worms siphoning the power and prevent them from regenerating. In a difficult and protracted battle they fight off the attackers and free Skrzypek who is able to make quick work of the remaining creatures with his fire esoteries. They salvage an artifact (phased slugspitter) from one of the sandmen. They take stock of themselves after the battle and securing the power core feeling that they’ve come a long way in the world and gained a good deal of experience and power. (Everyone levels up to Tier 2)

Search for the Skyfalls - The Journey Begins

The party goes to see Petra again to get their final instructions before departure. He gives them a map with the locations of the skyfalls as close as his contacts can estimate them. He also mentions that shady city officials are obstructing their investigation of the theft. He thinks that the Syndicate has a hand behind this and doesn’t want him to unravel their direct involvement and the corruption of the city government. The party then collects their chocobos at the church’s stables. Cook chooses the gold chocobo (Moogle), Gore the red one (Ifrit), Bumble the green one (Titan), the woodsman the black one (Odin), and Gerard the blue one (Shiva). The party then makes their way towards the west gate. They meet Durzak again and buy another powerful but dangerous cypher from him.

On their way they are stopped by two guards who try to detain them. The woodsman immediately bolts away. The others follow, but Gore is pulled from his saddle. With a little help from Bumble and Gerard he is able to remount and escape with the others. The guards sounded the alarm though and as they try to escape riding they encounter 4 guards blocking their way at the gates with halberds and the gates begin to close. Bumble lobs his spore sack cypher into the midst of the guards dispersing the spores among them. They scatter as they are gripped by strange hallucinations allowing the party to safely ride out of the city.

The party decides to investigate the skyfall in the Dark Hills first so they set out west along a main road. They ride half a day uneventfully before being ambushed by two ravage-bears along the road. The party engages the creatures and although Cook and Gore get a bit mauled they manage to send one running and slay the second. The bears appear to have been making meals of travelers and amongst the undigested bits of vomit they find two cyphers.

They rest up after the battle and continue on their way. As dusk sets in they notice two huge metallic colossuses lumbering south from some hills towards the road. The party continues on the road; when the colossuses reach the road one turns east but the other turns west and follow along behind them. The party veers off the road into the hills away from the path of the giant creature, but Moogle becomes spooked and takes off running with Cook causing the colossus to lope quickly after them. The woodsman tries to distract the creature and Cook manages to hide himself and Moogle. The creature crushes a few boulders looking for them but finally returns to the road and lumbers away. The woodsman finds them a hidden niche in the hillside and they bed down for the night.

Return from the Red Swamp

As the party makes their way through the red swamp they hear a crashing sound coming through the trees and closing on them. They hide themselve and see a ramshackle hut on mechanical bird legs come into view. Perched on the hut’s roof are some of the blue winged creatures the party avoided fighting previously. A cackling old woman’s voice booms from the hut threatening the unseen trespassers in her woods before the hut walks away. Two of the blue creatures stay behind and search through the woods. The party tries to escape unseen, but are Cook sinks in soft mud up to his waist and the creatures attack the party before they have a chance to free him. Goredard pulls Cook free, but he lands on his back covered in mud and one of the creatures jumps on Cook’s chest and claws him. Cooks sinks his dual blades into the creature and Goredard strikes the creature with his staff, killing it and sending its dead body sprawling, ending with an impressive twirl and flourish of his staff. The other creatures tries to call out to summon the hut back but Bumble strikes the creature in the throat with an energy blast. The creature tries to run but Gerard scurries quickly on his tiny legs and cuts the creature off. The creature takes flight but the woodsman strikes it with an arrow knocking it dead from the sky.

The party make their way out of the red swamp and once a safe distance away they camp for the night. In the morning they wake and investigate a pile of rubble built up under an ancient hovering structure they see in the distance. The rubble turns out to be a mix of stones, ancient building materials, and numenera debris purposefully piled there by a man lounging on the top of the pile smoking a hookah-like device and puffing rainbow smoke. The party searches among the rubble and discover some oddities and other bits of equipment which they haggle with the man over. The woodman waits impatiently while the rest of the party sifts through the pile of junk.

They finally move on and head back to the city of Shallamas. In the city they go to the Church of the Aeons to speak with High Priest Petra. They return the stolen microbe coolers and inform him of their slaying of the bandit king. Petra invites them each of ingest a tube of the microbes which will colonize near their brainstem and allow them to understand most common languages spoken throughout the Steadfast. (Goredard pockets a tube of microbes.) Petra also sends Alansari to tell the stable master that 5 chocobo are to be outfitted and set aside for the party to have as mounts. Petra then charges the party with investigating the numenera that fell from the sky a few days ago for anything of value or interest. He mentions that the stargates will still have to be secured and would potentially like the party to be a part of that later. The party beds down at the church and does some shopping the next day in preparation for their next journey.


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